The Abyss: Special Edition

This is no more the 'director's cut' than the original, over which Cameron had full control; it simply incorporates footage deemed gratuitous first time round. The abyss is death, of course, and in particular the spectre of nuclear war. A sub founders on the Atlantic floor. The team of an underwater drilling rig checks out the wreck. Meanwhile, topside, a storm is blowing, and the superpowers rerun the Cuban missile crisis. Sam Goldwyn once prayed for a movie that began with a hurricane and built to a climax. This is it. The first 90 minutes are as good as anything Cameron has done: hi-tech, blue-collar film-making; tense, brittle, on the knuckle. The last hour and a bit is increasingly OTT, sentimental and unconvincing. The new footage doesn't change much, but aggravates the problem of the climax, which now resembles Explorers played straight. The impression remains of a talented director drowning in the shallows of his deepest thoughts.

Release details

Duration: 171 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Cameron
Screenwriter: James Cameron
Cast: Ed Harris
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Michael Biehn
Leo Burmester
Todd Graff
John Bedford Lloyd
JC Quinn
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